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Coffee drinking not dangerous for unborn babies

New research backs previous studies that show that pregnant women can drink a moderate amount of coffee without harming their babies.


Researchers from Yale University School of Medicine in the US say their study shows that "moderate caffeine consumption during pregnancy does not meaningfully influence foetal growth".


They also report no evidence of risk from decaffeinated coffee. However among women who drink six or more cups of coffee daily, the birth weight of infants tended to be lower than those who drank less coffee.


The evidence supports Danish research reported in the BMJ recently that found pregnant women who drink eight or more cups of coffee a day run more than twice the risk of stillbirth compared with women who do not drink coffee.


The team assessed coffee intake of around 2,300 pregnant women and found that caffeine consumption did not increase the risk of premature birth or hamper growth in the womb.


But caffeine consumption was found to reduce birth weight by 28 grams per 100 milligrams (about one cup) of daily caffeine intake. They stressed however that this would only be significant in extreme cases.


"This small decrease in birth weight, observed for maternal caffeine consumption, is unlikely to be clinically important except for women consuming 600mg of caffeine daily (about six cups of coffee)," wrote the researchers in this month's American Journal of Epidemiology.


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